Being a SWTC Mentor guide


SWTC not only offers a safe environment to learn about Software testing for students but a safe environment for those who want to learn more about mentoring and coaching others in Sofware testing. This means the same courtesies are extended to those who want to get into mentoring, there are no pre-requirements to becoming a mentor and no judgement if things don’t work out. Simply come along and share your own experiences of being a Sofware tester and SWTC will support you with the rest. If it isn’t working out, then switch to a student role and come learn and when you feel ready to move back into a mentor role.

In an effort to support our Mentors and provide those interested in mentoring some details and skills for mentoring we have put this page together.  It contains general guidelines around mentoring different sessions, some skills that are worth considering and reading up on in your spare time and empathy maps to help give you an insight into the mindset of a Mentor and a Mentee.  Additionally, we will provide all Mentors with a lesson plan for each session in advance of the session to review and understand what we will need your help with, which you can access anytime from here.

If you have any questions about this page or being a mentor at SWTC then please get in touch with us either on the SWTC area of the Ministry of Testing Club forum or email us at

General guidelines

At SWTC we run different types of activities that will require you to tailor your mentoring skills based on the activity. We’ve provided a list of those activities below along with some general guidelines to consider:

During exercises:

  • Give suggestions when beginning an exercise
  • Observe your group and offer suggestions when they are struggling and take a step back when the conversation is flowing
  • Share your own personal experiences, techniques, tools and skills with your students

During debrief:

  • Listen to students feedback
  • Ask questions about their findings and probe with questions why they carried out certain activities
  • Praise good testing techniques, ideas and questions

During group discussions and whiteboarding:

  • Encourage the students to ask questions, make comments and general join in the group discussions. If things are quiet, raise points, if the conversation is flowing, hold back and let the students discuss.

Empathy maps

We have built empathy maps to help us understand what a Student and what a Mentor might be feeling and thinking during a session. Use these maps to help familiarise yourself with how a Student feels and thinks to help tailor your mentoring as well as looking at the Mentor map to see common ground you might have with other Mentors. You can find out more about Empathy maps here.

Student/Mentee empathy map

Mentee Empathy Map

Mentor empathy map

Mentor Empathy Map

Mentoring Skills

SWTC runs yearly with 12 sessions run before we start again to take in a new round of students. Before the sessions start again we offer a one off session for Mentors to introduce and practice skills that we think are vital for a Mentor. Since that session is only once a year, we have provided a brief list of skills we would recommend reviewing in your own time:

  • Building Rapport – Learn how to build a relationship of trust between you and your Students so they feel comfortable in their learning.
  • Asking questions – Asking Students questions is a great way to learn about what they know and what they don’t know. They are also an essential tool in helping guide a Student towards an answer to their own question.
  • Active listening – As a Mentor, really listening to what a Student is saying is extremely useful in gauging a Students understanding of a topic and their emotions towards a learning activity. Active listening is more than just having a conversation but being aware of what is being said and how it is being said.